Art Theft, and Other Stories
By Chris Parker
Published by Chris Parker at Shakespir
Copyright 2017 Chris Parker
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Table of Contents
“Hey Stan,” Mike says. “Where the hell were you? It’s almost 10:00pm?”
Stan opens the door to Mike’s black 2008 Lincoln Sedan and falls into the passenger seat, bringing the car down closer to the pavement, munching down on a greasy, oil toped sub sandwich.
“Hey bro,” Stan says practically snorting his words through each bite. “I’m sorry. I got stuck on the can. Wolfed down two bacon cheese whoopers from Burger King and a side of nachos. Felt like I was stuck there for hours.”
“Ok,” Mike says. “That was way too much information.”
“I swear man. I really thought I was going to end up crapping out my organs.”
“Dude! I don’t want or need to hear about your bathroom adventures.”
“Alright man,” Mike replies. “So the museum closed about an hour ago right?”
“Yeah. And there is only one guard tonight. Luckily he’s the senile grandpa type. One sweep around the perimeter and he’s out like a light.”
“Really? Why keep him around then?”
“Sentimental reasons. He’s the owner’s grandpa and he used to be law enforcement.”
“Okey dookey,” Stan says while finishing his sandwich. “So this painting, how much was it again?”
“It’s should be around 50 million dollars.”
“Holy nacho-moley,” Stan replies. “Do you have an idea how many chili dogs and tacos we could buy with all that lettuce? Just hopefully without the lettuce or anything related to green vegetables.”
“Dude,” Mike says. “What is it with you and food?”
“It’s one of life’s greatest pleasures bro.”
“Whatever man,” Mike says, rolling his eyes. “Let’s just do this.”
As they hop out of the Sedan, Mike grabs his ski mask, leather gloves and jacket. Stan steps out and notices his white shirt is covered in grease stains. As he zips up his jacket to cover his shirt, Mike plants his face in his right palm and shakes his head.
“Stan,” Mike says, “Don’t forget the mask and the gloves.”
“Right. Sorry dude.”
After Stan collects his mask and gloves, he and Mike make their way to the left side of the museum. Stan reaches for the window to the first floor of the building. Stan moves to open the window, before Mike grabs him.
“Mike,” Stan says, “What’s the deal?”
“The deal is you’re going to set off the alarm as soon as the window even cracks open. Might as well be screaming at the top of your lungs for the police to come arrest us.”
“Dude, do you have that little faith in me? I may love my burritos, but I know my way around an alarm.”
Stan lifts the window open and to Mike’s surprise, the alarm is silent.
“Stan, when did you do it?”
“I dropped by 5 hours ago. Chatted with the foxy curator and noticed the alarm. When she didn’t stick around to talk, I set up a little surprise in the alarm system to make it sabotage at 10:00.”
“And you said nothing because?”
“I had to see the look on your face man. Priceless.”
Mike punches Stan on the shoulder with a huge grin on his face. Stan couldn’t help, but grin as well.
“You dick.” Mike says.
“You know it,” Stan replies. “Let’s get rich.”
As they jump into the museum through the window, Mike and Stan hear a click from their right side as they are greeted with a flash of light. They turn and notice the old guard standing next 2 feet from them
“Good gentlemen,” the old guard says, “Looks like it’s your unlucky day. I’m feeling fired up now. Now it’s time for your ass whooping.”
Mike and Stan barely stifle a giggle. Regaining his composure, Mike approaches the old guard.
“Look old timer. We don’t want to hurt you.”
The old guard then uses his flashlight and whacks Mike on the top of his head. After grabbing his taser, the guard fires it at Stan’s groin. Stan falls to the ground, moaning in pain.
“The names Cliff dung heads. You really think I didn’t notice you screwing with the alarm, fat ass? You’re about as subtle as kid stealing from the cookie jar. Now you and your boyfriend here are licked”
“Stan,” Mike says still reeling from the stike to the head. “You’re a dumbass.”
“Larry,” Lois says. “What are you waiting for? The door is unlocked. Aren’t you going to come outside?”
Larry walks into the room and closes the door shut behind him. He makes his way past the light brown leather chair positioned next to the first of twin beds in the hotel room and joined Lois outside on the hotel room veranda. He sees that Lois has prepared a Singapore Sling. He eagerly, but cautiously grabs the glass and begins to savor the fruity cocktail he once vividly enjoyed.
After finishing his drink, Larry takes a moment to wind whistling a cool breeze on the rather sunny day. As if nature itself was trying to calm him and take his mind off of the impending and dreaded conversation he was about to have. Or it could have been trying to falsely convince him that things were going to be returning to normal between him and Lois.
“Lois,” Larry says. “I appreciate this gesture. It has been a while since I actually enjoyed one of these. And the room is nice. But we’ve been done this road already.”
“I’m not ready to give up on us that easily. I know deep in your heart that you feel the same way.”
“I did honey. Then you went and spent your nights with another man. With John.”
“Larry, I’m so sorry about that.”
“So you did it or sorry you got caught?”
Larry waited for a response from Lois. Whether it was another apology or an explanation. All Lois could offer was tears in her eyes and a face that was washed over with sorrow and regret.
“Lois,” Larry says. “I have to be going now. Thank you for the drink”
As he stands up, he places the glass back on the table and makes his way to the door. However, Lois, having left the table a moment after he did, quickly takes hold of Larry’s arm, stopping him next to the leather chair.
“Larry,” Lois says. “Please just listen to me If you don’t like what I have to say, then I won’t stop you from leaving.”
Larry turns back to face her and sees eyes with a steely and uncompromising glare. The tears we gone and her face was now blush with a faint cherry red.
“All right,” Larry says. “I’m listening. Please let go of me.”
Lois slowly drops her grip from Larry’s arm. Larry turns around to face her as she began to explain herself. Lois felt her mouth beginning to dry while she worked up her nerve to speak.
“I felt like the days we losing their meaning. I would cook you the same breakfast. You would leave for work and come back tired and practically emotionless. You always treated me so kindly and paid attention to me, but I felt that you never really saw me. You looked at me as a woman you had to take care of and not your wife. When John approached me at the grocery store, I could see the passion in his eyes and hear it from his voice. Passion for me. I couldn’t resist him. I knew I should have, but I didn’t”
“I can’t believe this,” Larry says. “Are you saying that all this is my fault? The reason you went to another man was because of me?”
“No,” Lois says. “It was because of me. You were a good husband.”
“Just not the perfect one, right?”
Lois tried to come up with an answer, but the words come not come to her mind nor would they form from her lips. She could only shake her head while looking at Larry directly in the eyes. Larry approaches Lois. She takes a steady breath, anticipating a venomous fueled rant or a quick and brutal strike. To her surprise, Larry kisses her forehead.
“I’m sorry too Lois. But it’s over. Take care of yourself.”
Larry then walks out the door, leaving Lois who collapses on the ground and cries.
Sunlight has finally faded away from the skyline. Max immediately leaves his house and stops next to the old navy pickup truck parked next to 256 Street, Allen Way. Max goes in front of the truck and stops to stare at the vehicle.
After some time, slow but thudding footsteps approach Max from behind. Max’s neck begins to tighten and the knuckles in his fists begin to crack. The footsteps cease and the source stops next to Max’s left side.
“Hey Joey. Of course you would be the one to show up.” Max said.
“To be honest, I was considering just cooking an egg and tuna sandwich.” Joey said.
“Don’t you hate that that crap?” Max asked.
“It’s more bearable than having to be here.” Joey said.
“Yeah. Can’t really argue with you there.”
The cold night wind brushes past them both with no letting up. Max keeps his focus on the truck while Joey begins to shiver from the air. Joey reaches out to Max but is shoved away before he can touch him.
“If I were you, I wouldn’t touch me right now.” Max said.
“You think I’m afraid of you tough guy?”
“I really don’t give a damn right now. If you have a brain in that empty box you call a head, you’ll get the hell out of here.”
“I’m not going anywhere.”
“Alright. Your call.”
Max turns to Joey and punches him across the mouth. Joey staggers back and wipes his lip.
“You really are one stupid son of bitch. Just itching to get knocked down aren’t you?” Max asked.
“Guess I just like a reason to hang with you pal.”
Max steps forward to take another swing but Joey catches his arm and decks him with a left cross. Joey falls to his knees and covers his nose. Max then rushes to Joey and knocks him on the ground. Climbing on top of him, Max swings back and forth at Joey’s face. Having enough, Joey grabs Max’s arms and head-butts his chin. Max stumbles backward and Joey covers his forehead. Max impulsively pounds on the ground.
“Why? Why the hell are you here?!” Max screams.
“Because I’m your friend dumbass.”
Max rushes toward Joey to kick him. Joey merely grabs his leg and throws it away from him causing Max to trip and fall.
“I’m not your friend.”
“Yes you are.”
“No I’m not!” Max yells.
Max leaps at Joey just as he stands back up. He begins punching Joey again. This time, Joey makes no effort to fight him off. Max continues swinging at Joey until his punches begin to become weak and futile wailing.
“I’m not your friend you idiot!”
“Yes you are.”
“Why? Why do still give a damn after what happened? How can you still call me your friend?” Max asked.
“Because it wasn’t your fault. You know that. Just accept it. Move on.”
Max stops swinging at Joey. Joey hugs Max who returns the hug.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Max said.
“I am too.” Joey said.
Thank you for reading my book. If you enjoyed it, won’t you please take a moment to leave me a review at your favorite retailer?
About the author:
Chris Parker is a writer who focuses on comedy and drama themed titles. His stories focus on the relationships between his characters and their impact on their stories’ plot and conclusion. He is working on earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts for Creative Writing.
Connect with Me:
Follow me at: [+ https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopher-parker-0a7529129/+]
"Art Theft", is about two thieves, Stan and Mike, seeking to steal a valuable painting from a museum. They do their best to take every detail in account to make sure things don't go wrong. However things may not go according to plan. "Past Regret", is about a woman named Lois who seeks to reconnect with her ex husband, Larry. She meets with him in a hotel to reconnect about old times, but Larry might not be in a listening mood. "Crimson Gravel", is about a man named Max who stands next to a truck in a street to reminisce about a traumatic past event. His old friend Joey shows up to comfort him, but Max wants to be alone and will use his fists to get that point across.